Study: E-cigs a gateway to smoking tobacco

Study: E-cigs a gateway to smoking tobacco
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Students in Los Angeles who used electronic cigarettes were more likely to start smoking combustible tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars and hookahs, the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) found in a new study.

The study, which surveyed 14-year-olds in the ninth grade at 10 Los Angeles high schools, found that the kids who smoked e-cigarettes were 22.7 percent more likely to smoke combustible cigarettes the following year.

Citing 2014 U.S. estimates, JAMA said 16 percent of 10th graders reported use of e-cigarettes within the past 30 days, of whom 43 percent reported never having tried combustible cigarettes.

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Health groups used the new data, released Tuesday, to renew efforts to push the Food and Drug Administration to finalize its tobacco deeming regulation and for the first time regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and cigars.

“We should not wait for a new generation to become addicted tobacco users to regulate e-cigarettes and prohibit marketing to minors,” American College of Cardiology President Kim Allan Williams Sr. said in a statement. “Changes in attitudes about smoking, regulation of advertising and the resulting declines in tobacco use have contributed significantly to reductions in heart disease wherever implemented around the world in the last 30 years.”

Williams said the FDA should move forward to prevent heart disease and maintain positive trends.

The American Heart Association said the findings should be yet another "wake-up call" to the FDA.

“As this study reinforces, we have a real problem on our hands," AHA CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement. "E-cigarette use has tripled among teens, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, and the evidence released today adds fuel to the fire."

Brown said the wait for a final deeming rule has gone on too long.

"It has been over a year since the FDA first released its proposal," she said. "As this study suggests, the public health nightmare that is tobacco is only getting worse and all tobacco products present risk.”